Titles are back

Titles are back. Without titles, with just text, Summing-Up becomes journaling. Not even a journal, but the activity of journaling. It doesn’t work. I cribbed the idea of a process blog from the “Core Intuition” podcast, which is about programming. Before I wrote the second draft of the second novel, I had sort of given up. The NaNoWriMo experience wasn’t a good generative one—who wants to fix a novel in revisions? An assignment, sure—for a grade or for money, but a novel, an ostensible passion project? I used to love fixing things in revisions. In undergrad. But not papers I took too seriously. I wanted an A- on my first draft and to revise it to an A+. We took writing seriously. Again, it’s why I’ve never taken Stop Button seriously as a writing project. There’s got to be some revision, regardless of the initial ambition. But short stories. Loved fixing those up. Loved moving pieces around. But in the MFA program, not so much. The idea from undergrad was you weren’t ever going to plot something well enough not to have to make dramatic changes. It’s probably appropriate for undergrad, frankly. Figuring out how you construct a narrative is really important. I’ve never been a fan of “you have to know the rules to break them” because it’s reductive. Shattering and reconstructing a story, however, is generative. Even if the result is shit and the passion is gone, it’s a learning experience. MFA program is you need to look past the plot as something you consider dramatically changeable. What’s dramatic? It’s about relying on your own process to move make those changes, not a workshop’s. Anyway, the NaNoWriMo draft revision process killed my enthusiasm and this programming podcast, discussing the idea of blogging about coding—sort of an experience blog—helped me think about process and devise not just a generative process for a second draft, but also a built-in revision process. An exhaustive one. I can’t even imagine having the energy to write a novel with the same process again. I do all this running now. There isn’t time.

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